Developing early literacy skills can prepare your child for a lifetime of reading -- both in school and for pleasure. Your little one looks to you as an example of what to do, making you a powerful role model in his literacy development. Knowing how to model reading skills makes it easier to create a literacy-rich home to support your child's development as a reader.
Predictions and Retelling
Predicting what will happen is a literacy skill that helps with comprehension of the story. As you read, discuss what you think will happen next and what clues you used to figure it out. You might say, "I think the little girl will get lost because she's not staying with her mom. The picture on the next page shows the girl alone and crying." Retelling the story after you read is another way to improve understanding of the story. Give a recap of the major events in the story. Acting out stories is another way to retell what happened.
Literacy isn't only about reading. The process of writing strengthens the understanding of words and their meanings. Writing also shows the connection between the written and spoken word. Instead of always reaching for the computer or your smart phone, grab a pen and piece of paper. Scholastic.com suggests writing lists and thank-you notes with your kids to show how writing is useful in daily life. A white board in the kitchen serves as a communication center and gives you another authentic writing opportunity. You can encourage writing in your child by keeping writing materials available.
After reading his favorite book 100 times, you probably don't make too many mistakes, but stumbling over words offers a learning experience for your child. Seeing an adult make mistakes while reading shows your child that he doesn't have to read perfectly the first time. Model sounding out difficult words to help your child figure it out. When you come across a difficult word, talk through the context to guess the meaning, or reach for a dictionary. These skills demonstrate how to become a better reader with a better understanding of the text.
When your child reaches school, he reads many books and passages because his teacher requires it. Some kids look at reading as a chore instead of an enjoyable activity. By reading on your own just for fun, you show your child that reading isn't always boring. Check out a few of your own books the next time you take a family trip to the library. Browse through your favorite magazines or the newspaper. Showing that you value reading can encourage your child to read more on his own.
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